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How to write a personal statement that says a lot about you

3 Min Read

So you’ve made the decision to study for a postgraduate degree online and have chosen to apply to the University of Birmingham?

Having reviewed the admissions criteria, the next step is to put together an application that clearly communicates your suitability and what you hope to achieve from your programme of choice. Your statement of purpose, an introductory essay to justify your admission, should give you an opportunity to share your key acheivements to date, alongside what interests you academically. It’s a chance for the faculty to get an understanding of the person behind your application; your personality and your motivations.

We’ve been chatting to our Admissions Team on what makes the best quality personal statement. Here are their top tips:

1) Demonstrate a connection

Although it might not be possible (or ideal) to reference all specific details of your chosen programme, try to mention:

  • Aspects of the University of Birmingham
  • The School your degree is managed from
  • Reasons for choosing to study online

Then, on a personal level, explain why these factors fit with your decision. Make sure you mention the modules you’re looking forward to studying and how these will apply to your career path.

For example, maybe you have read an interesting MBA blog post, or watched an engaging webinar hosted by one of our course directors? Or maybe your employer specifically endorsed studying at postgraduate level as a route to career advancement? Mention these to evidence your enthusiasm for the chosen subject.

2) Describe your goals

Explain your career path to-date and how this has lead you to apply. Then talk about your aspirations – what do you hope studying with us will help you to achieve?

You should show progression between your short and long-term goals. Setting out a clearly defined career plan in your personal statement will help you establish yourself as an ambitious and decisive candidate.

3) Don’t repeat your C.V.

A common mistake made by many applicants is to describe their previous job roles in exhaustive detail. It’s not worth using up valuable space when it may not relate to the programme you are applying for and it is already covered in your CV. An ideal personal statement should be roughly a page in length, which equates to about 500 words.

4) Make it personal to you

Try to avoid using generic or clichéd language. Instead use terminology which demonstrates your knowledge in the area you’re choosing to study. For example, clear references to issues such as austerity and a drive for sector efficiency are beneficial if you’re making an application to study our Online Masters of Public Administration.

It’s usually obvious when an applicant writes what they think will be the ‘right thing’, as opposed to an honest and open account. So don’t be afraid to write about your individual successes and struggles, goals and aspirations and how they’ve shaped you to apply for your chosen degree.

For more information and advice on putting together your University of Birmingham application, please fill out our request information form, or speak to a member of our Admissions Team. Start your application today.

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